If you want to comment on the “Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration” that was widely reported to allow charging people $1500 to take photos on federal wild lands you can do so here (deadline extended to Dec. 3):
I can’t make heads or tails of the directive pasted below but on Friday the Washington Post reported:
After receiving complaints about a proposal to require photographers to have a permit to shoot on federal wild lands, the U.S. Forest Service says it will make some changes to ensure it doesn’t violate First Amendment rights.
And that the news media and private individuals will not be asked to apply for a permit to take pictures.
Directive for Commercial Filming in Wilderness; Special Uses Administration
This Notice document was issued by the Forest Service (FS)
Notice of proposed directive; request for public comment.
The Forest Service proposes to incorporate interim directive (ID) 2709.11-2013.1 into Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, chapter 40 to make permanent guidance for the evaluation of proposals for still photography and commercial filming on National Forest System Lands. The proposed amendment would address the establishment of consistent national criteria to evaluate requests for special use permits on National Forest System (NFS) lands. Specifically, this policy provides the criteria used to evaluate request for special use permits related to still photography and commercial filming in congressionally designated wilderness areas. Public comment is invited and will be considered in the development of the final directive.
Comments must be received in writing on or before November 3, 2014 to be assured of consideration.
Submit comments electronically by following the instructions at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulation.gov or submit comments via fax to 703-605-5131 or 703-605-5106. Please identify faxed comments by including “Commercial Filming in Wilderness” on the cover sheet or first page. Comments may also be submitted via mail to Commercial Filming in Wilderness, USDA, Forest Service, Attn: Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers (WWSR), 201 14th Street SW., Mailstop Code: 1124, Washington, DC 20250-1124. Email comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If comments are submitted electronically, duplicate comments should not be sent by mail. Hand-delivered comments will not be accepted and receipt of comments cannot be confirmed. Please restrict comments to issues pertinent to the proposed directive, explain the reasons for any recommended changes, and, where possible, reference the specific section and wording being addressed.
All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be placed in the record and be made available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect the comments received at the USDA Forest Service Headquarters, Sidney R. Yates Federal Building, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC, in the Office of the Director, WWSR, 5th Floor South, during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to 202-644-4862 to facilitate entry to the building.
For Further Information Contact
Elwood York, WWSR, at 202-649-1727.
Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
1. Background and Need for the Proposed Directive
The proposed directive is necessary for the Forest Service to issue and administer special use authorizations that will allow the public to use and occupy National Forest System (NFS) lands for still photography and commercial filming in wilderness. The proposed directive FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, is currently issued as the third consecutive interim directive (ID) which is set to expire in October 2014. The previous directive addressed still photography in wilderness and did not provide adequate guidance to review commercial filming in wilderness permit proposals. The notice and comments are collected and used by Forest Service officials, unless otherwise noted, to ensure the use of NFS lands are authorized, in the public interest, and compatible with the Agency’s mission and/or record authorization of use granted by appropriate Forest Service officials.
2. Overview of Proposed Directive, FSH 2709.11, Chapter 40
The Forest Service is requesting public input with respect to Agency policy. Our intent with the issuance of this notice of proposed directive is to consider such input and, as appropriate, incorporate it into future policy. Certain suggestions, whether due to legislative or other limitations, may not be implemented through Agency policy, and we wish for the public to understand that as well.
The current language has been in place for 48 months. This proposal would make permanent guidelines for the acceptance and denial for still photography and commercial filming permits in congressionally designated wilderness areas.
Section 45.1c—Evaluation of Proposals
This proposed section would include criteria in addition to that of still photography to incorporate commercial filming activities. Furthermore, the Agency is proposing to clarify when a special use permit may be issued to authorize the use of NFS lands if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area.
The proposed directive for FSH 2709.11, chapter 40, section 45.1c is as follows:
45.1C—EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS
A special use permit may be issued (when required by sections 45.1a and 45.2a) to authorize the use of National Forest System lands for still photography or commercial filming when the proposed activity:
1. Meets the screening criteria in 36 CFR 251.54(e);
2. Would not cause unacceptable resource damage;
3. Would not unreasonably disrupt the public’s use and enjoyment of the site where the activity would occur;
4. Would not pose a public health and safety risk; and
5. Meets the following additional criteria, if the proposed activity, other than noncommercial still photography (36 CFR 251.51), would be in a congressionally designated wilderness area:
a. Has a primary objective of dissemination of information about the use and enjoyment of wilderness or its ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value (16 U.S.C. 1131(a) and (b));
b. Would preserve the wilderness character of the area proposed for use, for example, would leave it untrammeled, natural, and undeveloped and would preserve opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation (16 U.S.C. 1131(a));
c. Is wilderness-dependent, for example, a location within a wilderness area is identified for the proposed activity and there are no suitable locations outside of a wilderness area (16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(6));
d. Would not involve use of a motor vehicle, motorboat, or motorized equipment, including landing of aircraft, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(a) and (c));
e. Would not involve the use of mechanical transport, such as a hang glider or bicycle, unless authorized by the enabling legislation for the wilderness area (36 CFR 261.18(b));
f. Would not violate any applicable order (36 CFR 261.57); and
g. Would not advertise any product or service (16 U.S.C. 1133(c)).